Here at The Smaller Explorer, we have a BIG family travel bucket list. Some places are listed because of the one-of-a-kind wow factor. Some places would be an eye opener and hugely educational. Some are pure childish escapism. I’ve listed some tour operators that do similar trips, but there’s no reason why you can’t plan and organise it all yourself. In no particular order, because how could you choose?!
Family travel bucket list
See the Northern Lights, go on a snow safari, and get cosy in a log cabin over Christmas and new year
Activities Abroad do a trip for families. When it comes to natural phenomena, it’s safe to say that the Northern Lights are pretty high on the list of the world’s most spectacular, impressive and breathtaking sights. For families, they have a universal appeal. Adults can look up at the billowing swirling lights, knowing that they are looking at a pattern that is completely unique to that moment in time. For children the Northern Lights take on an altogether magical slant and your local guide will no doubt fascinate them with some of the legends of the Northern Lights. Tales include the fire fox, whose sweeping tail sparks against the sky, whilst for others they are a bridge to ancient ancestors or otherworldly warriors.
Soak up some winter sun on a Mauritius beach
More going on than the Maldives, and cheaper than the Seychelles, Mauritius is a great option for family winter sun, as it’s only 3-4 hours difference (though the flight is still 12 hours be warned). It’s safe, there’s bags of culture and great choice of accommodation for families.
Spot the big (and little) five on a Tanzanian safari
Tanzania is a good safari option for families as the Ngorongoro Crater offers high chances of seeing a large range wildlife up close and personal in a short space of time (plus the scenery is incredible). You can then follow your safari up with a relaxing beach trip to Zanzibar. Stubborn Mule are a family safari specialist. They recommend safaris for ages eight and above (though we’d love to hear from families who have taken younger children on safari).
Go green in eco Costa Rica
Costa Rica is famed for its natural beauty and wildlife. If I was pushed to choose only one destination to travel to, it would probably be here. Exodus offers a family adventure tour to the country where you can travel into the steaming jungle and explore the waterways of Tortuguero by boat, in search of monkeys, toucans and other colourful birds, enjoy a night walk in the rainforest, and try white water rafting and relax in thermal pools in the shadow of Arenal Volcano.
Hike the coastal Pembrokeshire Way
One closer to home, but no less amazing. 186 miles of glorious cliff views and back-to-nature slowing down. Expect to see puffins and whales. Barafundle Bay takes the prize for best beach in the UK. Beautiful.
Wild camp in America’s wild west
A true American adventure for the whole family. Enjoy camping under the stars in the western national parks and explore the Navajo Indians’ Monument Valley on this 12 day adventure holiday! The earth literally opens at the indescribable Grand Canyon, mysterious hoodoos cast shadows over Bryce, swift rivers carve winding canyons in Zion, and granite peaks and waterfalls sparkle above evergreen forests in Yosemite Valley.
Explore Vietnam’s hidden back roads by bike
Grasshopper Adventures offer bike tours for families through Vietnam. The riding is always away from busy roads. Mostly they use only small paths through villagers and farmland. Some are paved, some are hard packed dirt. The ride is almost entirely flat. The ride is designed for families of all ages, so technically you could take a baby!
Trek Nepal’s mountains then kick back in Kerala
Ecofriendly tour operator Nepal Ecoadventure runs a variety of tailor made trekking trips for families to take in sights such as the Poon Hill trek, the royal trek in the Pokhara vallet, Everest ‘lite’ trek and the Mustang trek. After thoroughly exhausting your legs and eyes, kick back and laze in the backwaters of Kerala, southern India. We reckon Kerala is the best introduction for families to India. Relaxed, clean and easy to get around.
Smell the blossom in Japan
Japan is a hugely popular destination to visit at the moment. Mountains, crazy food, hectic city life unlike any other on earth, stunning wildlife, and a rich cultural heritage. Even better with children. We want to go during the cherry blossom season (March/April) to witness Japan at peak gorgeousness.
I’m sure we’ll add to it as the blog grows. What’s on your family travel bucket list?